Predicted Chelsea XI vs Palace: Lavia gets debut in 4-2-3-1

Chelsea has lost three of their last four league matches, and currently sit 11th place in the league table. They will remain in 11th place if AFC Bournemouth sees out the win against Fulham. Bournemouth's position in the table would further prove why many of the excuses used to try defending Mauricio Pochettino will not fly. It's time for another predicted lineup though, and the gaffer has decisions to make.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Though Mauricio Pochettino has the joint-best Boxing Day record amongst current Premier League managers, Chelsea doesn't have a Boxing Day game this year, which means that the gaffer doesn't have a chance to add to his 5/5 Boxing Day wins so far. They welcome Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a must-win game, as they are at home and sit 11th place in the league. As it's a must-win game, who does Pochettino give the go-ahead for this London Derby?

Djordje Petrovic (No. 28) Goalkeeper, Serbia

Petrovic should be Chelsea's first choice, even when Robert Sanchez returns from injury. He has impressed greatly since he came in, and he seems like a comfortably better shot-stopper than Sanchez. His distribution so far seems to have been better as well.

Malo Gusto (No. 27) Right back, France

Gusto has had better games in a Chelsea shirt, but James has had surgery for his recurring hamstring injury, so for the time being Gusto will continue to start games whenever he's fit, and should.

Axel Disasi (No. 2) Centerback, France

Silva should finally get a rest. Disasi was part of a defense that ultimately fell short against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he wasn't horrendous and he should start again tomorrow.

Benoit Badiashile (No. 5) Centerback, France

The rotation in the back line has helped no one, but Pochettino has pretended it's necessary with how he has gone about his team selections so far. Badiashile could've been better in the 10 minutes he played, he completed 3/4 long balls and won all 2/2 of his duels. Badiashile in the Premier League this season has been successful in 91% of his tackles, and 71% of his ground duels, per Sofascore. His aerial numbers aren't as good as they were last season, but it's safe to assume he would not end the season with a 60% aerial duel success rate.

Levi Colwill (No. 26) Left back, England

Colwill has been near excellent in his duels, continuing to make a case for a place in the starting lineup.

Romeo Lavia (No. 45) Central midfielder, Belgium

Lavia was on the bench against Wolves which means he could have featured in the last match, though he didn't. With Enzo Fernandez and Lesley Ugochukwu out injured, Lavia may finally get his chance to start for his new club.

Moises Caicedo (No. 25) Central midfielder, Ecuador

Caicedo starts by default. Though he wasn't in the matchday squad last time out, but that was likely to give him a rest. Caicedo's passing numbers and tackling numbers have been well above average this season, completing an impressive 75% of his long passes and 71% of his tackles, according to Sofascore.

Mykhailo Mudryk (No. 10) Left winger, Ukraine

Mudryk has had good games, though his final third execution has been lacking. His performances have been better in recent weeks, indicating that he's benefiting from getting more game time. He scored an important equalizer in the cup game against Newcastle, but was not as influential in his last game for Chelsea against Wolves. With Raheem Sterling out, he has another chance to give Pochettino a selection headache.

Conor Gallagher (No. 23) Central attacking midfielder, England

Gallagher has comfortably been Chelsea's best midfielder this season and it's not close. His ball-winning, carrying and passing numbers suggest he is the single biggest contributor to positive performances. A section of the fanbase gets irritated when the Englishman gets praise, as they don't seem to see his impact, however, Gallagher's performances this season are similar to what many fans and the Blues hierarchy saw from Caicedo last season, which inspired them to go through with a record-breaking purchase of the latter.

Noni Madueke (No. 11) Right winger, England

Madueke did some things very well when he came on against Wolves. He will likely get another chance against Crystal Palace to build on that performance. He is already very good at beating his man, but it's what he does after beating his man that often leaves a lot to be desired. Competition for places is fierce, so Madueke needs to buckle up if he wants to feature more regularly in games.

Nicolas Jackson (No. 15) Center forward, Senegal

Jackson would be a lot more effective than Armando Broja at center forward, and much more effective than Nicolas Jackson at central attacking midfielder.